Why Taking the Leap Misses the Point

Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash

I once had a conversation with a friend on cliff diving. She said she was afraid of jumping. Then she took the leap and found out it wasn’t so bad.

This sounds like most self-help advice. Go quit your job, take the leap, throw it all away. What if that misses the point?

In cliff diving, I’d worry about the landing. Could I handle the consequences? Can I swim? (I don’t, at least not yet.) Can I fall in a way that I won’t be permanently injured?

Recklessness is easy. Wild abandon is fun even. Heck, I’m all for living in the moment. (I enjoy travel, public speaking, and improv – all kinds of art, science, and sport where curiosity and adventure overcome fear.)

However, have you prepared for the consequences? After leaping, do you know how to land without bruising yourself all over? It could be something you can learn in 30 minutes.

If you quit your job, have you prepared what you’ll do next? Do you have a poverty fund in case no money comes in? If you work for yourself, have you tried managing yourself on a short project? If you throw it all away, is there something you’re running towards?

Choices are easy. To leap or not to leap, to go up or to go down. Just reduce them to two then pick the one… you want to live with. Consequences and effects are harder. That’s where the real strategy comes in. What do you want to stick to you, to last? What ending matters most to you?

(PS. Now, let me be straight here that the leap still matters. The reason why you leap still matters. You could have circumstances where leaping or death is the only choice. But all I ask is some preparation. After all, each person’s existence contributes something to the world. If death and pain can be prevented, why not? Death and pain can come if they want, but how awesome would it be if they meet us already prepared?)